"Haha, now this is what I call party, no?", North's voice boomed through his Carefully decorated eating room. Days before, he had started working on making this Christmas party the best one he had ever made. He had commanded his Yetis and Elves in a most.. Russian way. Yetis were chosen to make beautiful ornaments and designs for the room. The creative snow people had made different ornaments for each guardians, and designed them to change color and they seemed to reflect each and every wonderful emotion you could feel.
The Elves, slightly more smaller and clumsier were commanded to do the only thing they were good at: making food. So they had made numbers and numbers of cakes, cookies and dishes. Each new one they made surpassing the others and North had been delighted. This feast was going to be a hole new experience for all of them.
Not only because he had taken more time to prepare it, but because it was the very first Christmas were Jack Frost would be present.
And North had succeeded, never before had he seen such content and happy faces around him. Tooth, usually energetic and giddy, was left sitting before the fire, happily listening to North's booming voice. Bunnymund was content in a chair, just watching the fire. Sandy was amusing Jack with one of his jokes, for a quiet guy he certainly was funny. Perhaps that was what North enjoyed the most at that moment, Jack's laugh. Because it actually was a genuine, happy laugh. Not a smirk, not a grin, an actual laugh. And the boy deserved it, he really did.
North watched all of their faces again and he became so jolly by just looking at them. His friends, his family. Nothing at all could destroy this evening, he was sure.
Of course he had to temp faith.
Jack finished laughing, and itching that wonderful sound to come back, North asked him something.
"So Jack, I had quick little look at my list today and seems you're not going for record anymore." North Winked.
Jack nodded, "Yeah, I wanted a challenge, being naughty was a bit too easy if you ask me."
"I think it fits you more Jack, sure you're a prankster, but you're such a sweet guy." Tooth told him, North could see her proud smile and the blush it caused on Jack's cheeks. Jack's eyes twinkled and he answered her.
"I try my best, you know since I met you guys life has been so much better, I want you all to know that. And the naughty list thing,... I'm sorry about that North.", Jack hesitated, seemingly ashamed of what he had done then. North felt guilty immediately, the event still fresh in his mind. He hadn't shared it with any of his fellow guardians, and of course all of their faces turned to him in a matter of seconds. It was Bunny who popped the question.
"What exactly happened that Jack holds the record for 250 years in a row?" Bunny turned his head towards Jack, "You know mate, that's a really long time, how bad and naughty are ya exactly?" North was sure Bunny had meant this as a joke. But Jack became defensive, the content smile and look in his eyes slipped off his face and became a frown.
"Hey, it's not like I had a choice cottontail, I mean nobody of you ever bothered to check on me, did you? " Jack said to him, everybody was quiet in a second, their guilt wrecking havoc in their brains and making them silent.
It was true, North knew it. After the event around 1760, he had completely ignored the winter spirit, not once second-guessing his opinion on the boy. And neither had the other guardians done that, except for maybe Sandy, but even he had lessened his visits on Jack after North told them Jack was a naughty child. They had all judged him without thinking of the consequences.
North opened his mouth to say something, but the long silence only seemed to have angered Jack further, since he started talking again.
"It's not like I knew how my powers worked, how this "belief" worked, why nobody ever saw me. I didn't know how to be nice. I thought I was doing the right thing, but even then I clearly wasn't." He huffed, "So I am so sorry Bunny, if I held that record. I couldn't change it." Jack finished, he turned his head so he could look out of the window. His eyes were far away.
"Woah mate, chill out, I hadn't meant it like that. I was just curious." Even North could hear the guilt lingering in Bunny's voice as he spoke.
"Well, that doesn't exactly get me far. I was still alone for those 300 years, and even though I truly am sorry for what I did back then, I really am North. It was only because... because I needed some contact in my life, some clearing. I just went at it the wrong way I guess... Can you blame me? Like I said, I didn't know how.", Jack flinched, like he was afraid he had said to much,
"Forget it, forget what I said. I am sorry North, I've always been sorry since that day."
It was quiet, again. North decided he couldn't take it anymore, so he spoke.
"Jack, there is absolutely no rea.." Jack interrupted him, and started talking.
"No, I should be, it was stupid, I was stupid. But I should leave, it's Christmas and there are a lot of children hoping to get some snow. You know me, always flying around.", He talked like he was itching to get out of there, "So, goodbye and I'll see you guys next time."
Jack flew up, waved at them and smiled.
That smile.. It was so sad. How could a smile express so much doubt, fear and anxiety? It was beyond North's imagination but it was right before his very eyes. Jack took off, kicked at a window and flew away. All in 5 seconds.
"What just happened?" Tooth asked.